Law360 covered recent developments in the case between Montana landowners and Atlantic Richfield Co. (Arco), with Morrison & Foerster partners Deanne Maynard and Joseph Palmore featured as representing the landowners.
On October 15, the landowners told the U.S. Supreme court that pollution levels on the properties are still a problem and Arco shouldn’t be able to use federal environmental laws to shield itself from further cleanup costs. Deanne, Joseph, and their team argued that “nothing in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act blocks state-law-based claims against Arco, even if the company has fulfilled its U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-mandated cleanup.”
While Arco and the federal government contend only federal courts have jurisdiction to decide CERCLA disputes, the landowners said it was a misreading of the statute. “Neither Arco nor the government attempts to reconcile the theory that CERCLA strips state courts of jurisdiction over state-law actions with the fact that CERCLA’s key jurisdiction-stripping provision expressly exempts state-law actions,” the landowners said.